NCAA roundup: Winners include Minnesota, UNC, Florida, FSU, Colorado, Illinois

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Illinois blocker Michelle Strizak goes up against Maryland's Angel Gaskin/Maryland photo

All the ranked teams but two that played on Sunday were winners.

And that’s only because in the matches between No. 2 Minnesota at No. 14 Purdue and No. 12 UCLA at No. 20 Colorado, something had to give.

Minnesota and Colorado were the winners.

No. 10 North Carolina and No. 15 Florida State won in a busy day in the ACC, No. 5 Florida won in another unpredictable day in the SEC, No. 17 Washington State won again, and No. 13 Hawai’i closed out the day with a victory.

Start with the ACC, where North Carolina won at Clemson 25-13, 22-25, 25-13, 27-25 to improve to 12-2 and 4-0 in the league.

Freshman Julia Scoles led with 16 kills, hitting .481 with three service aces. Taylor Leath followed with 10 kills, while Taylor Fricano hit .667 with seven kills on nine swings and Hayley McCorkle added six kills, hitting .308. Carolina hit .355, second only to UNC’s .380 clip in its home opener against TCU.

FSU cruised past visiting Boston College 25-20, 25-17, 25-15 to improve to 11-2, 4-0, as the Seminoles had a remarkable 25 block assists, one solo, and only one blocking error.

“We are putting a lot of emphasis on our defensive alignment and touches on the ball,” FSU coach Chris Poole said. “It is still an area we want to keep improving as the season progresses. North Carolina, who we face Friday, is one of the most athletic and explosive teams in the country offensively. We will have to be on top of our game to be successful in that match.”

Melanie Kiel had six of those block assists and the solo and had four kills and hit .500. Mara Green had six block assists and a team-high eight kills. She also had the only block error.

The ACC’s top two teams play on Friday when FSU goes to UNC, which has played away from home for nearly a month.

Notre Dame won its fifth in a row by grinding past visiting Wake Forest 26-24, 18-25, 28-26, 25-23 and improved to 13-3. Moreover its 4-0 ACC mark is the best the Irish have had since joining the league.

Sam Fry led ND with 15 kills, six blocks and three digs.

Also in the ACC on Sunday, Syracuse won in a sweep at Miami, Pitt swept visiting Virginia, Georgia Tech did the same to NC State and Duke won in three at Louisville.

UNC, FSU, ND and Pitt are all 4-0 and Duke is one game back at 3-1.

Purdue coach Dave Shondell, left, and Minnesota counterpart Hugh McCutcheon shake hands before the match Sunday/Trevor Mahlmann photo @TrevorMahlmann
Purdue coach Dave Shondell, left, and Minnesota counterpart Hugh McCutcheon shake hands before the match Sunday/Trevor Mahlmann photo @TrevorMahlmann

Purdue was no match for visiting Minnesota 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 as the Gophers hit .457.

The Gophers improved to 12-1, 4-0 in the Big Ten with their 11th victory in a row. Minnesota was led by Sarah Wilhite with 19 kills (.621) and Hannah Tapp with 10 (.444), while Alexis Hart had nine (.562). Dalianliz Rosado added a match-best 13 digs, while Samantha Seliger-Swenson had 39 assists.

Azariah Stahl led Purdue (11-4, 1-3) with 17 kills and hit .517 and added five digs, two blocks and an ace. Danielle Cuttino also had 17 kills, hit .382 and added two blocks.

Maryland is so close but so far.

The Terps gave visiting Illinois all it could handle 25-18, 22-25, 30-28, 23-25, 16-14.

“This was a tough loss but we played hard,” Maryland coach Steve Aird said. “I am proud of how we fought. We had a window to win, and in this conference, you have to capitalize on that. We will keep working and battling.”

Illinois senior Michelle Strizak led the Illini with a season-high 20 kills on 46 attacks for a .283 hitting percentage, with freshman Jacqueline Quade adding a career-high 18 kills. Illinois also had a season-high 17 blocks, with sophomore Ali Bastianelli leading with 11. She also had four aces.

Sophomore libero Kelsey Wicinski served a career-high six aces for Maryland and freshman outside Gia Milana led with 16 kills. Sophomore Liz Twilley added 15 kills.

Colorado was coming off a tough loss to USC and bounced back with a 25-21, 24-26, 25-15, 28-26 victory over visiting UCLA. The Buffs are 10-4, UCLA is 11-3 and both teams are 2-2 in the Pac-12.

Alexa Smith led CU with 16 kills, while Stephanie Shadley and Gabby Simpson each added 12 and Naghede Abu 10. Simpson had her fourth straight double-double with 30 assists and 13 digs.

“It was a fantastic performance against a really good team,” CU coach Jesse Mahoney said. “I thought we did a really nice job of regrouping. I always say we have good practice after a loss but we had a rough one yesterday so it was nice to see us save that for today, I guess The setters did a fantastic job, we had four kids with double digit kills which was much better that we could spread the ball out that way. I thought we were really disciplined, staying on our game plan, especially defensively.”

Senior Jordan Anderson led UCLA with 15 kills and 14 digs. Both Bruin setters, junior Ryann Chandler (27 assists, 11 digs) and freshman Kylie Miller (19 assists, 13 digs) also had double-doubles.

No. 17 Washington State made short work of visiting Cal 25-20, 25-17, 25-22 to improve to 14-2 overall and its 4-0 Pac-12 start is the school’s best since 1997 when head coach Jen Greeny and assistant Shannon Wyckoff were players.

Kyra Holt led with 12 kills and hit .409. McKenna Woodford added 10 kills and hit .450.

“I think it’s great to be able to come out and not play our absolute best volleyball and still get the win in three so proud of this team; it was a great Cougar weekend,” Greeny said. “We definitely need to clean some things up, especially our serving. But I think that will happen next week in practice and we get ready for the next weekend.”

WSU goes to Oregon State on Friday and Oregon on Sunday.

Speaking of Oregon State, the Beavers swept Arizona State on Sunday 25-22, 25-11, 25-18. OSU is 8-7, 1-3, while ASU is 7-9, 0-4.

The SEC was anything but boring on Sunday.

No. 5 Florida, coming off a loss at home to Kentucky, had to go four to beat Tennessee 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20.

“It took a gritty effort to win today,” said Florida coach Mary Wise, whose Gators improved to 13-2, 3-1. We sure got that from this group.”

Alex Holston led the Gators with 15 kills, 11 digs and two blocks. Carli Snyder had 13 kills, 13 digs and two blocks, both solo. Rachael Kramer had 13 kills, hit .409, and five blocks, and Rhamat Alhassan had 12 kills and three blocks.

Tennessee (10-6, 1-3) got 17 kills from freshman Tessa Grubbs, who also had four digs and three blocks.

“I’m very happy with how we competed every point,” Tennessee coach Rob Patrick said. “I thought the team carried out the game plan as well as we could have. I thought we were playing them point-for-point, but eventually Florida made a play here, a play there, that made the difference in the sets they won.”

Kentucky improved to 11-4, 4-0, and now resides top the league with Missouri after winning at South Carolina 25-22, 17-25, 32-30, 25-19 win for its eighth consecutive victory. South Carolina fell to 13-2, 1-2 after squandering a 23-16 lead in the third set.

Leah Edmond led with 13 kills, Kaz Brown added 11, and Emily Franklin and Brooke Morgan had 10 each.

Missouri, 13-3, 4-0, also won its eighth in a row.

Sophomore Alyssa Munlyn had eight kills and hit .800, while senior Carly Kan led with 11 kills. Kan, just 5-foot-9, continues to astound observers and confound opponents.

VBM caught up with the Hawai’ian  outside hitter Sunday afternoon after Missouri beat LSU.

It was a good day for the Mississippi schools.

State held off Alabama 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 18-25, 15-12 to improve to 11-7 overall and 3-1 in the SEC, its best league start ever.

“Wow. That match was amazing all the way around. That is what SEC volleyball is all about,” MSU coach David McFatrich said. “To say that this win doesn’t mean a lot to us would be a lie. I’m so happy for these girls, our staff and Mississippi State.”

Junior Jelena Vujcin led State with 16 kills, while Evie Grace Singleton had 14, Emily Hill 13 and Jazmyne Johnson 11.

Krystal Rivers, a Crimson Tide hitting machine, got off to a slow start but still had 26 kills for Alabama (13-4, 2-2), which hit a season-low .145.

Ole Miss also won a five-setter, beating Arkansas 25-15, 20-25, 25-14, 20-25, 15-10 to improve to 12-4. Arkansas is 3-12 and both teams are 1-2 in the SEC.

Sophomore right side Kathryn Cather led Ole Miss with 20 kills, hit .621 and had three aces, five digs and three blocks.

Auburn won at Georgia 25-13, 25-19, 16-25, 25-20 to improve to 8-9, 2-2, while Georgia dropped to 12-5, 0-4. The Bulldogs were 0-18 in the SEC last year and lost their last two SEC matches of 2014, bringing the losing streak to 26.

Also: SMU capped a successful American Athletic road trip with a sweep at Houston that left the Mustangs at 11-5 overall and alone at the top of the league standings at 4-0 … Also in the American Temple went to Memphis and won in five to improve to 10-4, 3-1, while Cincinnati continue to win in conference play, beating UC to leave both teams at 3-1 …

No. 13 Hawai’i swept visiting UC Riverside to improve to 11-4, 4-0 in the Big West as senior opposite Nikki Taylor had eight kills and eight blocks …

Western Kentucky swept Middle Tennessee to get to 16-2, 4-0 in Conference USA, as Alyssa Cavanaugh had 15 kills in 19 swings and hit .789.

The Big 12 had Sunday off.

There are just five matches on the NCAA Division I schedule Monday, two in the SWAC, two in the Missouri Valley and one in the Colonial.

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